A World Premiere
Dance Hall Musical!

Lovin' ain't easy in this one-honky-tonk town, and when the bandleader and the bartender fall for the same dance hall girl, you can bet all heckfire's bustin' loose. It's an evening of non-stop toe-tappers, cat fights, and love quadrangles.  A new musical from the award-winning director of Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara!

(The Reindeer Monologues)

(Songwriter, True Blood)

(Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara)

Choreography by ALLISON BIBICOFF
(Assistant Choreographer, Xanadu -
Tony Nomination: Best Choreography)

Listen to the title song!

WINNER of an Ovation Award!
Lead Actor in a Musical - Brendan Hunt
plus one nomination:
Lyrics/Music for an Original Musical - Richard Levinson

Nominated for 2 L.A. Weekly Awards!
Direction of a Musical - Jeremy Aldridge
Musical Direction - John "Groover" McDuffie

Garland Award Honorable Mention!
Performance in a (Primarily) Musical
- Courtney DeCosky

Fridays & Saturdays @ 8pm thru Fri.,Oct. 30
plus Sundays, Oct. 4, 11, 18 & 25 @ 7pm
and Halloween Matinee, Sat., Oct. 31 @ 2pm

PREVIEW: Thursday, September 17 @ 8pm

Q&A with the Creative Team
& Cast after the Sun, 10/25 show!

Tickets: $25  (Preview: $15)
Buy Tickets Online or call (310) 281-8337




Bryan Krasner
Natascha Corrigan
Brendan Hunt
Courtney DeCosky
Dave Fraser
Rachel Howe

Ceasar F. Barajas, Mike Kluck, Gregg Moon, Don Baker,
Rhonda Diamond, Gina Tucci & Natasha Norman

Musical Director - John Groover McDuffie

Guitar / Pedal Steel
Bass / Pedal Steel
Guitar Alternate

John Groover McDuffie
Peter Freiberger
Dave Fraser
John Palmer
Al Bonhomme



Paul Byrne
Mandy Kaplan
Michael Canaan
Rachel Howe
Erika Whalen


Assistant Director

Associate Producers

Set Designer
Lighting Designer
Sound Designer
Costume Designer
Assistant Choreographers

Fight Choreographer
Vocal Coach
Stage Manager
Graphic Design/Photos

Ruth Silveira
JJ Mayes
Brian Wallis
Terry Tocantins
Richard Levinson
Jason Charnick
David Knutson
Yancy Dunham
Chris Millar
Jaimie Froemming
Rhonda Diamond
Don Baker
Laura Napoli
Lisa Anne Nicolai
Rachel Howe
Suze Campagna
Jason Charnick

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L.A. Weekly (Pick of the Week)

L-R: Courtney DeCosky, Bryan Krasner, Brendan Hunt & Natascha Corrigan; photo by Jason CharnickA thunder'n'lightinin' romance between ex-spouses crackling around a restraining order lies in the vain heart of Jeff Goode (book) and Richard Levinson's (songs) new musical, set in an undisclosed locale, but here it sounds a whole lot like west Texas. And though this is a countrified variation on Erin Kamler's urban and urbane Divorce! The Musical, that played at the Coast Playhouse earlier this year, director Jeremy Aldridge does double-duty to seduce us into an environment, as he did with last year's hit at this same theater, Louis & Keely, Live at the Sahara. David Knutson's set transforms the theater into small town canteen/gas station, with plastic L.P records and American flags pinned to the wall. Jaimie Froemming's Texas costumes can make you feel a tad out of place for leaving that shirt with the fringe and the cowboy boots in the closet. And there are other striking similarities between Savin' Up and Louis & Keely: a marriage on the rocks, an onstage band (honky-tonk rather than jazz, consisting of musical director/guitarist John Groover McDuffie, who's also on Pedal Steel; Peter Freiberger on bass; Dave Fraser on piano; John Palmer on drums; and Al Bonhomme, alternating on guitar). Levinson's songs are a throwback to early Elton John, when he was working with Bernie Taupin, with a twist of Randy Newman's harmonic grandeur. Each of the two acts opens with a ballad accompanied just by piano ("Dr. Bartender" and "Small Town") that have simple yet haunting harmonic progressions from John's earliest albums, and the shit-kicking Act 2 "Gotta Lotta Rockin' To Do" is a musical nod to John's "Saturday Night's Alright (for Fighting)." Also echoing Louis & Keely is a dimension that makes this show just right for L.A. -- a prevalent tension between narcissism and the capacity to give of oneself, that's perfectly embodied in the delusions of Eldridge, Jr. (Brendan Hunt), a local homophobe who believes he possesses the charisma and style of Elvis Presley. In fact, he has a slight speech impediment and a deranged glint in his eye. His singing act dominates the bar, with his name in lights as a backdrop. (A number of the bulbs tellingly need replacing, like in his own emotional circuitry.) Can he win back his ex, Lucinda (the vivacious Natascha Corrigan) - a woman of machine-gun wit and fury who works double time to penetrate the impenetrable veneer of Eldridge's ego. Things get touchy, when Eldridge's long time friend, bartender Doc (the bear-like Bryan Krasner) finally has the guts to make a move of Lucinda, while sweet Patsy (Courtney DeCosky) cares for Eldridge - but not that much. It's a thin entertainment, enhanced by Allison Bibicoff's sashaying choreography, but an entertainment nonetheless. Its tone of sentimentality sprinkled with metaphysics is embodied in the song "Here," beautifully rendered by Rachel Howe, who plays a daffy waitress. The place and people can make you so insane, you want to flee, she croons:  "And I know someday/We're all just gonna disappear/So I want to take the time right now to say/I really love it here."

--Steven Leigh Morris
© 2009 L.A. Weekly

The Santa Monica Daily Press

Not Just Another Song and Dance

Well, who’d a thunk a bunch of cowboys and their mini-skirted girlfriends stompin’ on a Saturday night at a seedy, honky-tonk bar on the outskirts of Nowheresville would keep you grinnin’ from ear to ear the whole time? And make you wanna hurry back home to the trailer park to pig out on pork rinds and Pabst Blue Ribbon.

It’s the world premiere of a bright, original musical by the Sacred Fools Theater Company called “Savin’ Up For Saturday Night,” and it’s authentic and romantic and loads of fun. Written by Jeff Goode, with songs by Richard Levinson, directed by Jeremy Aldridge, and performed by a sensational cast of 13, this musical will take you completely by surprise.

First of all, there’s David Knutson’s incredibly tacky set that exudes so much personality it should get a billing all its own. Decorated with highway signs, hubcaps, old 78-rpm records, and a bright neon beer sign, it catapults you into the play before you even take your seat. The singers slide down a shiny brass pole to get to the stage and exit through a door marked “kitchen.” Presumably, there’s a gas station attached to the premises, which is why the place is called “The Ready Bar ‘N Fill.” All that’s missing is the requisite mechanical horse.

Then, there’s Doc, the bartender (Bryan Krasner), who pours from an endless supply of half-filled liquor bottles and dispenses wisdom and advice to his Saturday night regulars. A soft- spoken, gentle man with a ripe, bartender voice, you love him immediately. In contrast to Eldridge (Brendan Hunt), the owner of the bar and the main “entertainment,” who takes a lot of getting used to. A raucous singer with moves that Elvis never even thought of, Hunt and his spangled jacket dominate the small platform/stage and the four band members crowded in behind him. The band, by the way, is terrific, led by musical director and guitarist John Groover McDuffie, with Peter Freiberger on bass, John Palmer on drums, and Dave Fraser, who plays piano as well as a comic character named Roddy.

The girl in the musical is Lucinda (Natascha Corrigan), a sassy, sexy babe who is the ex- wife of Eldridge and the pined-for love of Doc, the shy bartender, who finally summons the nerve to make a pass at her with a song called “Let’s Do Something Cheap and Superficial.”

The dancing couples, seated at small tables around the edges of the stage, and sometimes in the audience, don’t have speaking parts, they just dance up a storm to the lively choreography of Allison Bibicoff. Except for Rachel Howe, who, as the bar’s only waitress, not only dances but sings a ballad called “Here” to the bar itself, which she loves.

The plot proceeds mainly through the songs, and, especially in the first act, it feels like there are a couple too many of them. But I can’t imagine which ones to cut. They each do a fine job of fleshing out the characters and are clever and tuneful.

“Savin’ Up For Saturday Night” may not be everybody’s cup of tea. Country music is certainly not mine. But this musical is so exuberant and so fresh that you have to enjoy it in spite of yourself. And at the end you can even go onstage and dance with the players!

--Cynthia Citron
© 2009 The Santa Monica Daily Press


Set up another round of drinks bartender ‘cause every night is Saturday night at the Honky Tonk Bar and Fill, the scene for Savin’ Up For Saturday Night, the first show of the season at Sacred Fools Theater Company. Written by Jeff Goode (book) and Richard Levinson (music & lyrics), this world premiere musical more than delivers on its promise of a good time. Relationships are complicated everywhere and love in this small town is no exception.

Director Jeremy Aldridge has assembled a stellar cast, beginning with Brendan Hunt as Eldridge Junior Paisley, the headliner and owner of the bar. If ever there was a role Hunt was born to play, it’s this one. In his yellow stretch polyester outfit, Hunt sings up a storm, dances like a man possessed, and commits to his wacky character in a way that makes you love Eldridge no matter what his faults may be. After all, this is a man who slides down a pole from his dressing room to make an entrance and switches off the lights on his own sign when he storms out the door in frustration proclaiming, “The fun has left the building.” All you can do is shake your head and laugh.

Natascha Corrigan plays Eldridge’s ex-wife and singing partner Lucinda. Here’s a woman full of sass with a singing voice to die for, and a wise-cracking sex appeal that spins Eldridge around at every turn. Their stormy relationship still smolders with unresolved passion and allows for some great comic moments as each struggles to get the upper hand.

The third character mixed up in love is Doc, the bartender, played by Bryan Krasner. In true bartender fashion, Krasner keeps the place grounded with his everyman demeanor and down to earth advice. He’s the kind of man you can feel safe around and Krasner knows exactly what to do with him...now if Doc only knew what to do with Lucinda.

And finally there’s Patsy, played by the lovely Courtney DeCosky. Sweet, but a little slow on the uptake, she’s replaced Lucinda as the object of Eldridge’s affection and is about to get her big chance replacing her onstage as well. DeCosky’s got the pipes to prove she’s up to the task. Her rendition of “She Wanted To Be A Singer” is one of the best of the night.

Rounding out the cast are Rachel Howe as first-time waitress Sissy, and Dave Fraser as grease monkey/piano player Roddy. He’s one fifth of the terrific band led by musical director/guitarist John Groover McDuffie, along with Peter Freiberger on bass, John Palmer on drums and Al Bonhomme alternating on guitar. They’ll make you want to jump out on the dance floor and join in the fun…and if you’re lucky you just might get the chance.

Allison Bibicoff’s choreography adds a sparkling layer of authenticity to the show executed by some expert country western dancers like Rhonda Diamond and Don Baker, who hold three UCWDC World Championship titles in the Couples Diamond Showcase and Pro-am Showcase divisions. Along with them are Ceasar F. Barajas, Mike Kluck, Gregg Moon, Gina Tucci and Natasha Norman.

The production team, especially Dave Knutson (set designer) and Lisa Anne Nicolai (props) have done an exceptional job of transforming the theatre into the country western roadhouse. With Priscilla, the stuffed Jackalope, up on the wall and bottles of liquor and motor oil for sale nightly, this establishment is appropriately, and happily, more than a little frayed around the edges.

Don't miss the fun.

--Ellen Dostal
© 2009 BroadwayWorld.com

Frontiers in L.A.

Sacred Fools is one of L.A.’s edgiest companies, so it came as a surprise last year when a musical called Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara was announced for the Fools’ season. It proved to be knockout entertainment with a kicky cabaret sensibility, but also much more than that. The mesmerizing show, written by and starring Vanessa Claire Smith and Jake Broder, as the legendary real-life entertainers of the title, was also a heart-wrenching bio-drama about a passionate romance doomed to failure. The little-show-that-could swept every L.A. theater award imaginable, played for months at the Sacred Fools, then at the Matrix and ended up in a revamped version at the Geffen Playhouse last spring, where it’s still running, and clearly bound for bigger things.

Small wonder that the Sacred Fools decided to enter the musical fray again, with a new show helmed by Louis & Keely’s original director, Jeremy Aldridge. The artistic aims of Savin’ are clearly far more modest—a toe-tapping piffle for audiences eager to forget their troubles and wallow in unpretentious, country-fried fun. The songs by Richard Levinson and other collaborators are rousing, allowing for energetic, foot-stompin’ dance numbers (spryly choreographed by Allison Bibicoff)...

The plot feels disposable, yet the emphasis on atmospherics works wonders, thanks to David Knutson’s evocative set design, which makes for a terrific environmental staging. Aldridge periodically breaks the fourth wall to give us a nifty you-are-there feel, simulating a seedy dive in an unspecified rural town... The five-member band, under the musical direction of John Groover McDuffie, adds to the show’s simple pleasures. Don’t go expecting Shakespeare-heck, not even Best Little Whorehouse in Texas — and this whimsical shit-kickin’ romp should provide a good time.

--Les Spindle
© 2009 Frontiers in L.A.


...there is a rough-and-tumble charm to this honky-tonk musical set in a roadside bar in Texas, with music and lyrics by Richard Levinson and book by Jeff Goode. The show is a bit slow to warm up, but under Jeremy Aldridge’s direction the play is cooking by the second act.

Top billing for the bar’s Saturday night show goes to Eldridge Paisley Jr. (Brendan Hunt), who is headliner and owner of the bar. Eldridge is a cross between an Elvis wannabe and the loudmouthed twerp in high school you wanted to punch out. His ex-wife and former co-star, Lucinda (Natascha Corrigan), whom he is alternately wooing and screaming at, also makes a regular Saturday night appearance at the bar—complete with heavy drinking, flirting, and stealing the mike for some singing of her own. Refereeing these domestic showdowns, along with the rest of the honky-tonk hubbub, is the bartender Doc (Bryan Krasner), who has carried a flame for Lucinda since high school. He may get his chance with her soon, because Eldridge has now fallen for a young waitress, Patsy (Courtney DeCosky), whom he has promoted to singer and who is about to make her onstage debut.

Levinson’s music is all country, all the time, with a mix of ballads and stompers that get the supporting cast of waitresses and patrons out on the dancing floor. There are a couple of emotionally dynamic ballads, such as “She Wanted to Be A Singer” and “When We Dance,” as well as the light and tender “Let’s Do Something Cheap and Superficial”... Hunt is solid and energetic as the prancing Eldridge and uses his comic timing to capture the shades of dark and light in his character. Corrigan is strong and appealing in voice and acting, and Krasner is convincing and lovable as Doc. There are also notable performances by Dave Fraser as the piano-playing mechanic and Rachel Howe as the waitress who delivers the moving and heartfelt final number.

However, the bravura performance of the show is by DeCosky, who seizes the spirit of the wistful and wonderful Patsy like catching a firefly in a bottle. DeCosky has a remarkably charismatic stage presence—that rarified ability to rivet an audience’s attention in an understated, organic way. Apart from her powerful acting gifts, DeCosky also is a magnificent singer, not only through vocal skills but also through her gift for touching the heart with every lyric. Her renditions of “She Wanted to Be a Singer” and “When We Dance” are transcendent.

--Hoyt Hilsman
© 2009 Backstage



Jeff Goode and Richard Levinson are "Savin' Up For Saturday Night"

Jeff Goode (Book) & Richard Levinson (Songwriter); photo by JJ MayesIt's almost show time at The Honky Tonk Bar and Fill, a one stop gas station and dance hall in the tiny town of Ready, U.S.A. The band is warming up on stage, as the bartender limps over to the dressing room and pounds on the door. "Showtime Eldridge!"

And so begins Savin' Up For Saturday Night, a world premiere country-western dance hall musical, with book by Jeff Goode (The Reindeer Monologues) and music & lyrics by Richard Levinson (Songwriter, True Blood). The show will open Sacred Fools Theater Company's thirteenth season (September 18 - October 24, 2009) and is directed by Jeremy Aldridge (Louis & Keely Live at the Sahara) and choreographed by Allison Bibicoff (Xanadu on Broadway).

Lovin' ain't easy in this one-honky-tonk town, and when the bandleader and the bartender fall for the same dance hall girl, you can bet all heckfire's bustin' loose. You're in for an evening of non-stop toe-tappers, cat fights, and love quadrangles.

Featured as the cast's troubled trio are Bryan Krasner as Doc, Brendan Hunt as Eldridge and Natascha Corrigan as Lucinda, with Courtney DeCosky (Patsy), Dave Fraser (Roddy) and Rachel Howe (Sissy). Dancers are Ceasar F. Barajas, Mike Kluck, Gregg Moon, Don Baker, Rhonda Diamond, Gina Tucci and Natasha Norman.

I caught up with busy writers Jeff Goode and Richard Levinson and asked them how it all began.

This musical's genesis is unique in that the songs were written before the book instead of simultaneously. Did you always have in mind that the songs would eventually turn into a musical?

Richard: Yes, but not as I was writing them because they were all written for different reasons, and I'd written so many songs over a period of years. Eventually I saw that I actually had a catalogue of country songs that I could group together. I'd met Jeff several years ago at No Shame Theatre and we had worked on some short projects together. I gave him some of the songs to look at and told him I had this idea. We were both busy, but a year and a half later he called and asked what I was doing with those country songs. He had an idea for them and he came back very quickly with an outline of a script. We've had some rewrites and polish work since then but our story is 75% the story he created right away.

Jeff, what did you hear in the songs that gave you the story idea for the musical?

Jeff: I listened to the CD Richard sent me and they're great songs. I liked them all. They were solid, and the idea of writing a show where the score was already tight was really appealing to me. As I listened to them, an atmosphere came to me. Many of them are dance songs so I started thinking about a dance hall and a honky tonk (a place where music is being played and people are dancing). I could also see the three main characters begin to emerge.

You could see the characters in the music?

Jeff: Yes, I had a vibe from the songs to begin with but then the characters jumped out fairly quickly. One of the first songs in the show is called "Dr. Bartender" and that really defined a character for me that was easy to expand upon. Several other songs didn't sound like they were really story-related but sounded like something Eldridge, the band leader, would sing. And then, in some of the relationship songs about a dysfunctional relationship, I saw this girl who was the best dancer in the place that everybody wants. Once I saw those three characters, I knew that there was a story that could be told using these songs as an anchor.

Did anything about that story surprise you?

Richard: No, but what really surprised me was that I recognized all of the people. Jeff made their individual stories very clear. I know Eldridge, the band leader. I've worked with that guy many times before, and Doc is the kind of person that I think will be familiar to a lot of people.

Jeff, your plays often have an edge or deal with subject matter in a satirical way, yet this musical is a bit more mainstream. Will people who know you be surprised by it?

Jeff: I think one of the things that I'm good at is character, and the only thing that really makes this show different is that I've selected a set of characters that are in a part of the country that I haven't written about that much before, but my way of working with characters is similar... the way the humor comes from the characters and situations rather than just the dialogue.

Our core audience for this show is a little more mainstream. Compared to some of my work there's very little obscenity. We wanted this show to appeal to a wide audience so you think about who those people are - how they're going to feel, how they're going to approach it - so if it's challenging it's still going to be within the realm of what that audience is going to like and find interesting.

You're a writer whose work actually gets produced on a regular basis across the country, not just in LA. What do you think is the key?

Jeff: I think a lot of writers don't get produced because they start to write what they really want to write without thinking if someone else wants it. That's one of the first things I think about. I have all kinds of ideas ready to go that I look at and ask myself, who is the audience for this? Why spend a year or two years working on something that isn't going to get produced?

Generally it's people who know you and have worked with you before who will take a risk on your work, so having a good relationship with them is important. Then when you ask them to read something new, instead of it going onto the stack, it actually gets read because they enjoyed working with you the last time, and this one also happens to fit their theatre perfectly because you know their situation. As my career has gone on, that group of people has gotten larger, but when I was younger, it was one theatre.

That's one of the first things I learned from John Patrick Shanley. I did an internship with him when I was in college on Beggars in the House of Plenty at the Manhattan Theatre Club, and it was something like his sixth show there. I think he started out with them as an usher. Well, Beggars wasn't quite there yet and during the process he said Manhattan Theatre Club lets him do these shows because they know he'll deliver the goods. (But he said it with a Brooklyn accent). And that's important. That's one of the reasons people don't take risks on playwrights they don't know.

How did you ultimately end up at Sacred Fools with this show?

Richard: I've been a member of Sacred Fools Theater for about three years and done a number of things there, like Louis & Keely, and really enjoyed working with the company. We sent the script to Jeremy, who also directed Louis & Keely, and he felt it was 80% of the way ready and we should go for it. Then the Sacred Fools submission deadline was coming up. They liked it and were considering it within the context of the entire season, ultimately opening with it.

How did adding a director to your creative team impact your collaboration?

Richard: It's been very interesting for me. Jeremy is very visual and has a real commitment to the relationships between the characters and how that will be communicated to an audience. He's really wonderful at it and he'll see things in the script I never saw before. Both Jeremy and Jeff have been very helpful in the collaboration process creating this musical.

So this has been a growth process for you as an artist as well?

Richard: No question about it. The process itself is very gratifying for me, very hands on. I'm having a terrific time putting the components together and I think the final product is going to be great fun to watch.

Jeff: I've written a lot of different types of shows, things that are funny, things that are hopefully beautifully written or clever, and I do think this is a really fun show. It's exhilarating watching the dance numbers and songs, and the actors are great too. (And, we're even serving beer during the performances too).

--Ellen Dostal
© 2009 BroadwayWorld.com

Los Angeles Examiner

Life, Louis and the Fools go on

Nice to see director Jeremy Aldridge not only back working at the Sacred Fools Theatre (where he is a company member) but also as one of the drawing cards for the Fools’s season opening production of the country cabaret “Savin’ up for Saturday Night.”

Aldridge, “Savin’ Up’s” director, helmed the first incarnation of “Louis & Keely: Live at the Sahara” in its world premiere at the Fools in May of 2008. The Louis Prima/Keely Smith musical went on to play the Matrix and then take up residence at the Geffen Playhouse where it’s been playing since March (it’s on something like its fifth extension). Info: click here.

Now, Aldridge did not direct the reconfigured “L&K” for the Geffen. That task went to filmdom’s Taylor (“Ray”) Hackford, and the buzz is that if the creators eventually take “L&K” on tour and ultimately to New York, Hackford will not go with it, meaning the project could be in line for a third director.

But back to the Sacred Fools. “Savin Up” features music and lyrics by Richard Levinson and a book by Jeff Goode. The tale concerns a small town honkeytonk establishment where the bandleader and bartender both fall for the same dance hall girl. Sept. 18 through Oct. 24.

--Evan Henerson
© 2009 Los Angeles Examiner

L.A. Stage Blog (2 articles)

Ovation Fellows are current students or recent alumni from Los Angeles area universities. Fellows are paired with a Mentor, currently serving as an Ovation Award voter, and see productions and meet artists around Greater Los Angeles throughout the year. Their articles, posted on LAStageBlog, are intended to be their personal responses to their experiences, and not as critical reviews or representing the views of LA Stage Alliance.

Pabst Blue Ribbon - Served Warm, With a Side of Carrot Cake

Savin’ Up for Saturday Night, a new musical by Jeff Goode, songs by Richard Levinson, directed by Jeremy Aldridge, choreography by Allison Bibicoff, is now playing at Sacred Fools.

Feel free to kick up your feet or join the country line dancing because this production welcomes audience involvement. At first you might think you walked into a Charlaine Harris novel with Sookie Stackhouse serving you a drink but then the lights dim, a thick no-nonsense bartender, whom the town calls Doc, begins to narrate about small town life, failed love and a girl named Lucinda. The story unfolds as Lucinda, played by Natascha Corrigan, and Eldridge, her ex-husband and bar owner, reveal their corrupt relationship while taking turns singing against each other on stage. Eldridge, played by Brendan Hunt, is more interested in his nightly routine as the bar’s only source of entertainment than his new gal, Patsy, a nervous waitress who’s forced to sing while Eldridge goes on break to fight with ex-wife Lucinda. Resolution comes swiftly as the ex-couple make an effort to rekindle their love, only to realize it’s time to move on and for Lucinda to move out of the small town she’s called home.

Bassist Peter Freiberger, keyboardist David Fraser, guitarist John Groover and drummer John Palmer are the musicians who make up the core ensemble of Savin’ Up for Saturday Night. Fraser tickles the ivory while playing a supporting role in the production as the bar’s honky tonk bandleader whose only obsession is to sing us a song he’s composed. He gets his chance too when “last call” is served.

Savin’ Up for Saturday Night’s whirlwind story takes the audience on a comedic ride of country twang, alcoholics and synchronized dosey-doe while making an honest and genuine attempt to explain why some people are just not meant for each other.

--Daniel Everson
© 2009 L.A. Stage Blog

Save Up for Savin' Up

Downtown Los Angeles is perhaps the last place one would go to find a good ol’ honky tonk bar, but thanks to the Sacred Fools and “Savin’ Up for Saturday Night”, the spirit of the South may be closer than we think.

The Sacred Fools theater is situated in a less-than-desirable neighborhood among a cluster of other buildings. However, upon entering the theater and being greeted with a warm “Howdy there!” it was as if I had walked into my favorite bar and was among friends. Aside from the cleverly designed set – fully equipped with small dinner tables, a cheesy stage for the band to play on and the ever-present Pabst Beer neon sign glowing in the corner – the audience is welcomed into the bar by the actors roaming the audience. Some are trying to get a drink order and others just want to chat.

The play’s action begins seamlessly, almost to make the audience wonder, “Oh wait, is it starting now?” Lively country rock music fills the bar along with exciting dancing thanks to choreographer Allison Bibicoff. While this is Allison’s first time working with this group, she is no newcomer to the stage.

“Savin’ Up” is a new musical, and that brings with it many exciting possibilities and many challenges.

“It’s not like doing ‘West Side Story,’” said Bibicoff. “We had to figure out what the numbers would be and where we were going with the numbers.”

Allison admits that one of the luxuries to working with a new piece is having the writer and composer available.

Other challenges that were addressed were how to cater the choreography and dance numbers to those members of the cast who were not strong dancers.

“With the numbers we try to tailor them to (the actor’s) strengths,” said Bibicoff. Some of her dancers were strong partner dancers while others were strong musical theater dancers; it was finding the common ground in the middle that would make this a great show, and they sure succeeded.

Fully equipped with kicks and flips, “Savin’ Up” left nothing to be desired for the dancing, and the entire cast looked fabulous.

What is next for the show? “We love the show” said Allison. “It has a great appeal and we want it to move to bigger theaters to keep the show going.”

--Aubrey Canfield
© 2009 L.A. Stage

L.A. Stage Times (Interview)

2010 Ovation Nominee Profile - Brendan Hunt

Brendan Hunt is a 2009/2010 Ovation Nominee in the Lead Actor in a Musical category for his work on Savin’ Up for Saturday Night with Sacred Fools Theatre Company.

LA Stage asked Brendan Hunt the following questions:

What was the first theatrical production you ever attended and what impact did it have on you?

A production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream at Court Theatre in Chicago. Blew my 11 year-old mind. I had no idea until then how hilarious Shakespeare was; there was just SO MUCH going on. It wasn’t necessarily that show that made me decide to be an actor, but it sure set me down the path. As a side note, Midsummer remains my favorite Shakespeare play.

What is your most cherished theater memory?

I studied theater at Illinois State, a program with a pretty decent share of notable alumni, Judith Ivey among them. She came and did a week-long master class with a handful of seniors and MFA students. She had me do the big monologue from I Hate Hamlet in a far ballsier manner than my timid young self had even considered doing. It was a massive confidence boost — life-changing, really — the first time I ever felt in control of my facilities, the first time I felt for sure that I could do this for a living.

For someone as successful as Ms. Ivey to take the time to help young hopefuls such as us meant a lot on its own. But I ended up coming away from it with something very tangibly helpful.

Which LA theatre artists’ work do you consider a ‘Must See’?

I try (and fail, sadly) to see everything Kiff Scholl directs. I don’t miss a show done by the Echo, nor by Sacred Fools. And I think every artist should see the improv group “Dasariski” at I.O.; improv IS a kind of theatre, and especially when done by this exceptionally consistent trio.

What is your favorite thing about working in the theater in LA?

The modernity. The scene here seems particularly focused on new works and new ways of working, and I think that is very much to LA’s credit.

If you could change one thing about theatre in Los Angeles, what would it be?

I wish the social scene was more streamlined, so all the disparate pockets of hangoutery could more often overlap. Maybe I’m just too accustomed to the everyone-knows-everyone way things work in Chicago, and am wishing for something impossible to reproduce here. But I’ve found that as far as theater-types are concerned, familiarity breeds intent.

Who’s the first person you texted or tweeted when you got the news about your nomination?

By coincidence of timing, I was in rehearsals for the re-mount of the show for which I was nominated. So I received quite the handful of congratulations before I could even get a moment to spread the news. The next day I finally got around to telling my family back in Chicago. One must consider the time difference, y’know.

© 2010 L.A. Stage